SM Group is in no hurry to diversify
MANILA -- The SM Group, a company more known for its chain of shopping malls, said on Wednesday it would review the country’s competitiveness as against its regional peers before it starts investing in other businesses such as power and infrastructure.
Jose Sio, chief financial officer of SM Investment Corp., said the company’s investment focus would remain on its three main core businesses—shopping malls, retail and property development.
“But beyond that we will look at the Philippines in the next five years. Where is the competitive advantage of the Philippines compared with other countries?” Sio said.
He said the company, which operates 47 malls in the country and five in China, would continue to expand in the Visayas and Mindanao and also in China, where SM is building Asia’s largest shopping mall in terms of space.
“The Filipino culture is a mix of Spanish and American cultures, which is to be happy and enjoy life. So we think that the retail market will continue to grow because of these attitudes,” Sio said in a forum organized by ING and the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines.
After putting up a five-star hotel in the Mall of Asia complex in Pasay, Sio said the company is still thinking of the company’s next direction.
“Tourism is an area that the Philippines can compete with anybody in the world. But our problem is [lack of] infrastructure and the peace-and- order situation,” Sio said.
The company, he said, is interested in bidding for the infrastructure projects of the government. It will also put up more power-generation facilities to support the country’s growth.
He said the company is studying the possibility of bidding for the Mactan Cebu International Airport.
There are also other informal discussions on several projects that he said he could not reveal at this time.
“We are interested in the growth of the country. But it should have good management, it [project] should have a long-term proposition,” he said.
SM’s 47 shopping malls in the Philippines have a total gross floor area of about 6 million square meters. Its five malls in China, including those in Chengdu and Suzhou, have a total gross floor area of around 0.8 million square meters.